Level 10

1. I stood in a long hallway. High walls surrounded me with bas relief columns and various other carvings. The walls were made from huge blocks of stone, hard and solid like granite, but red as if impregnated with iron. The place looked well-tended and sturdy. This was no abandoned ruin like the fortress. I resolved to proceed with caution. I headed cast.

2. I was running forward, but with caution, when two strange, bird-headed men suddenly appeared, swords in hand. They said nothing as they attacked, and I saw they weren't about to let me explain my presence in their temple, so I also drew my weapon.

I had not encountered such adept swordsmen in a long time, and my skills might have grown a bit rusty I was forced to parry many times, and I received several wounds. But these men, as dangerous as they were, did not inspire the same dread as the goblin heads had done. And though the wounds I received hurt greatly, they had none of the venomous burning I had come to associate with the goblin head's bite.

I defeated the guards and headed farther east.

3. I came to a short wall, climbed, and ran forward to a welcome healing potion. A floor tile fell behind me as I ran. So this place wasn't in perfect shape, after all, I thought. I continued east.

4. Before me, two great carvings acted as supports for the ceiling. My path ended, and I could see a ledge at the base of the statue columns. I stood back a little from the edge, just behind two short columns, and jumped, catching the ledge below with my fingertips.

It was loose!

5. I fell with the floor tile, but it had stopped my momentum and I fell safely. Moreover, a guard was standing below, and the floor fell upon him, crushing him just as he was drawing his sword. I was sorry about the guard, but I have no doubt he would not have felt sorry at all if our roles had been reversed.

I decided to continue east, jumping to a lower landing first.

6. I ran quickly, spotting a doorway ahead on an upper landing. As I ran, I stepped on a pressure plate, and the door began to open. But I could see no way to get up to the door. A gap prevented me from climbing up, and I knew I could not make the jump.

7. I dropped into a low-ceilinged passage blocked to the east by a metal gate. There were, however, a blade trap and a healing potion. I crawled under the trap and drank the potion, returned to the west, and climbed back out.

6. I could see the doorway, open now, and so close. But I still saw no way to get to it from here. I returned to the west.

5. As I came up to the low wall, I spied a pattern of holes that could only mean one thing - a spike trap! I stepped carefully up to it, avoiding the long rusted spikes as they sprang out. I climbed and headed west again, stepping on a pressure plate as I ran.

8. A gate was opening up ahead and I could see a wide gap with several ledges on the opposite side. I ran full speed and jumped at the last moment, hurtling through the air and barely catching onto a ledge.

9. It was a long fall below me. Two great statues stood along the western wall, and I saw gate between them. I pulled myself up.

8. I climbed to the top landing and headed west again, very carefully.

10. Below me I could see the straight groove made to accommodate a blade trap, so I jumped over it. Immediately a pair of bird-headed guards appeared and I was forced to fight with the blade trap at my back. However, I charged them, pressing aggressively forward until they fell.

11. I ran unmolested past a statue depicting a strange creature - perhaps it was a god to these people.

12. As I headed toward a twin set of statues holding up the ceiling, another bird guard came running up from behind me. I kept running and he stopped.

13. I almost ran directly into another guard. My head was turned, watching the one behind me, and I barely drew my sword in time. This guard was quick, and I had to advance, parry, then strike. He managed to hit me a few times, perhaps because I was distracted by the guard behind me. Eventually, I pushed him backward. There was a terrible whooshing sound, Hamza, and he was suddenly cut in two by a blade trap I had not seen. I stepped away from the deadly device before sheathing my sword. Then I quickly made my way past his gruesome remains and under the blade trap. The only exit was through a gap in the floor. I lowered myself into it.

14. I swung my feet to the west and landed on a platform below me. To the west was a closed metal gate. To the east were several of the giant statues. I jumped to the floor and ran to the east.

Immediately, more guards appeared. I think there were three of them, but they kept coming, and I kept fighting as well as I could. They struck quickly, and I had to parry often to protect myself, but eventually they fell. I ran onward.

15. I saw a healing potion ahead, and, as I ran toward it, I stepped on a pressure plate. I could hear the sound of a gate opening behind me. I skipped the potion and ran back to see what had happened.

14. The gate I had seen previously was now open. Carefully but quickly, I stepped up to the first wall - I had spotted a spike trap - and climbed up two landings and walked through the gate.

16. I was in a very small room. I walked carefully, on the alert for traps, and discovered a loose floor I jumped over it, and it's a good thing I did. Directly beneath it was a Life Enhancement Potion that would have been crushed if the floor had fallen, I drank the potion, grateful for its healing effects, then made my way from the room and retraced my steps.

14. This time, there was no attack as I ran to the east.

15. I climbed up onto the second landing, then climbed again to the third, still heading to the east.

17. Below me I could see one of the bird-headed guards, but he faced in the other direction. Carefully, I lowered myself over the ledge, trying not to make any noise But the guard heard me as I landed and turned quickly to the attack. Too late I had noticed a spike trap in the wall behind me. Now I was truly caught between two sharp pointy deaths.

I surprised the guard a little I think. I pushed forward, toward him, then struck. I was able to press close to him and turn him around. Now it was his back to the spikes. He fought furiously, especially when he saw that I had turned the tables on him, but I eventually wore him down. I ran to the east.

Translator's Note:
Here's another version of this encounter, though I don't know which is the more believable. "I saw the guard below me and decided to try a daring attack. I made room to get a running start, then jumped clear over his head. In the moment it took me to regain my balance and draw my sword, he stood there, I think a little surprised. He was very skillful, however, and I suffered at the point of his blade. Finally, however, he fell and I continued east."

18. I avoided a blade trap by climbing onto a ledge and jumping over it, but I saw a pressure plate below and dropped down to step on it. To the east, I heard a gate opening.

9. I recognized this room. I had seen it briefly when I jumped across the wide gap before. I stood now at the base of the two giant statues and jumped to the east. A guard came running out and I fought him, then ran onward.

19. I drank a healing potion and ran through the great hallway. I kept going east.

7. I ran through a narrow hallway, ducking and crawling under a blade trap. As I was crawling, a guard came running into the hallway from behind me, but he stopped short of the trap. We stood facing each other a moment from opposite sides of the blade trap; then, seeing that he could not attack, I ran to the east.

20. The hallway seemed endless, broken occasionally by high gaps in the low ceiling, which revealed a higher path. I ran on...

21. ...and on

22. I came at last to a room dominated by four great statues. A guard awaited me, and we fought silently. He was quick, but I blocked his blows and answered with my own riposte, I found a healing potion behind him, then started to climb up to the third landing, using a series of ledges.

I decided to explore an upper path first, so I headed west when I reached the third landing.

21. I came to a gap and jumped very carefully. A blade trap was just on the other side. I crawled under it and continued on.

20. I grabbed a healing potion, then jumped another gap.

7. I came to a familiar room. I had previously found a healing potion here. There was no reason to enter it, however, and I remembered there was no way to open the gate from inside, anyway. So I turned around and headed back the way I had come.

22. I reached the room with the four giant columns and climbed up through the ceiling.

23. There was only one way to go, so I ran west.

24. A guard stood in my way, and I drew my sword. His was already drawn, but I was able to hit him repeatedly. As we fought, more of his friends appeared and lined up behind him to take their turn, but they too, fell when I attacked furiously. I ran west and jumped a small gap.

25. I continued running west and jumped another gap.

6. I came to a gate, which began to open as I stepped on a pressure plate. I ran to the exit door and climbed the steps.

Continue to Chapter 5: The Shadow & the Flame (Level 11)
Table of Contents